Western Civilization slowly emerges from The Age of Ideology as Leftism, having achieved its final goals with globalism, reveals its fundamental impracticality and the misery of life under an ideological (i.e. reality-denying) regime. In its place, a new era appears as people reject anything but the innate and observable, having come to distrust scientists, academics, reporters, and ideologues.
Some object this. Like most Leftists, and they are all Leftists of some form, they differ only in the degree to which they are willing to apply their one idea, which is human equality. Some want a fairly conservative Leftism, where others want to jump into Communism with both feet out. All want to drag us back into The Age of Ideology to some degree.
As is always the case in human affairs, people disguise their intentions, and so many talk about returning to liberal values as found in The Enlightenment,™ the massive cultural change which kicked off The Age of Ideology. Stephen Pinker, who has produced at least one really great book, seems to have joined in this desire to resurrect the failed past:
These are just a few of the issues Pinker will discuss in “Enlightenment Now,” but he explains that the book is more than a compendium of encouraging statistics – it’s an urgent reminder that we need to preserve the Enlightenment values of reason, free expression and scientific inquiry that have led to such remarkable human progress since the 18th century.
…Instead of behaving like petty authoritarians and lamenting the imaginary fascist takeover of the country, anti-Trump forces need to reaffirm their commitment to Enlightenment values and institutions: free expression, universal human rights, unfettered objective inquiry, the rule of law and democracy.
Most people have no idea how all of these values connect to egalitarianism/individualism, which is the one idea of both the Left and the Enlightenment™ (“hmm”). Let us view them in sequence:
Reason. For us to believe in human reason, we must believe that it is evenly distributed among the population, but this requires us to think of the step after an idea is generated. When someone produces an idea, it must be recognized by others as correct or not. We either put our faith in exceptional human beings or in the generic “human reason” which assumes that a crowd is convinced by a correct argument, which in turn requires we believe they all possess at least an equal minimum of analytical ability. In reality, people have widely differing abilities to the point that they might as well live in different worlds, and those at lower levels not only fail to recognize accurate ideas, but actively reject them.
Free Expression. In theory, we all support free speech… until we encounter spam. The large amount of opportunistic, insane, stupid, delusional, egotistic, and vandalistic speech will make us reconsider! This means that we do not want egalitarian free expression, which is like a herd of monkeys all screeching at once, but quality of expression, which requires that in contrast to allowing a free-for-all, we listen to those who demonstrate the ability to make at least one coherent point.
Scientific Inquiry. To seem to oppose science appears to most to be the ultimate apostasy of our age. After all, science brought us hot showers, penicillin, and microwave dinners. People forget that science is in the hands of individuals, and individuals are not as unbiased as science is proclaimed to be, and so they can cherry-pick data, exclude items from study, and draw over-broad conclusions based on limited data. Science remains popular because it is presumed to be “objective,” which forgets that people do not understand the same thing at all from the same facts. This is why science us usually wrong and our “unassailable scientific truths” change every decade.
Universal Human Rights. The core of egalitarianism is found in individualism: no individual wants to face the Darwinistic or Social Darwinistic consequences of being wrong in how they understand reality, so they demand reality be abolished and be replaced with human socializing and its laxer standards of judgment. In reality, people have different abilities including to comprehend basic consistencies in our world, and so it makes sense that they would have different roles, duties, privileges, and responsibilities. Extending the same rights to all merely punishes the more productive and intelligent whenever someone of lesser ability struggles near them.
The Rule of Law. We like to believe in the rule of law as opposed to the rule of men, or the decision-making of individuals who are probably smarter and wiser than us. With the rule of law, everyone is treated the same, which means that our past contribution or lack thereof is not taken into account. What this does is essentially punish those who have contributed in the name of protecting the vulnerable, and instead of allowing a sensible case-by-case judgment, relies on blocky categorical rules which are never precise enough, leading to endless and tedious legal wrangling. Over time, law degrades us and compels us to do the illogical.
Democracy. Look at the people around you. You know that they are unequal in their ability to perceive reality, analyze it, and creatively understand the possible solutions — that means setting up little dioramas in their minds, and then hitting the “play” button on a mental video player to see how interactions play out — that describe the choices we can make in life. Now you realize that ability is distributed unevenly, with the real talent being rare and exceptional. Democracy means that the lower talents win out over the higher every time, which is why democracies die by a thousand cuts, making many bad decisions that ultimately add up to fetters of precedent that prevent anyone from solving any real problems. Democracy destroys civilizations and makes people blockheaded, timid, deluded, and prone to opportunism.
In summary, we do not need a return to the values of The Enlightenment,™ which are ancient at this point and reflect the same type of thinking that killed both ancient Athens and the modern Soviet Union. The herd is not good, but instead is a compilation of the thoughtlessness of individuals who are then separated from responsibility for their actions by the fact that they can blame the crowd. “Everyone was doing it!”
Enlightenment (™) values created The Age of Ideology by separating our thinking from cause-effect in reality and instead directing it toward human consensus, or what most individuals will insist that others believe because this benefits individuals by deconstructing the cause-effect relationship between their actions and the results of their actions, which can result in a loss of social status if the results turn out poorly, showing that the individual does not understand reality well and thus is delusional, less intellectually capable, inexperienced, or otherwise maladapted.
The coming age — barely dawning on us now — is one where people think less of the individual and more of the organic whole, such as their civilization, ethnic group, faith, and caste. Trying to make everyone equal actually created unending disaster at every level, and as we awake from the stupor of good social feelings and rediscover reality, we are casting equality and The Enlightenment™ aside.